How Square Enix thinks Foamstars will survive the collapse of service games

Foamstars has been available for a few days now on PlayStation Plus for PS5 and PS4. We talked to the creators about its possibilities, and more.

Service games have dominated the gaming scene in the last decade, born from the explosion of online gaming and all the related possibilities.

Something, however, went terribly wrong recently. The constant influx of multiplayer-heavy titles in the genre has led players to become increasingly fatigued and begin to significantly restrict the time they invest in them – an essential metric for the survival of any title in 2024.

This crowding also meant that developers, often reluctantly pushed to attempt a venture into the genre by their publishers, did not have original ideas to propose nor the right expertise to be successful. We talked about it at length in our review of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

That said, there are still those who think they can carve out their own slice of the public in this segment.

Square Enix has played all the cards at its disposal to guarantee Foamstars a similar possibility, starting with the imitation of successful mechanics and styles such as those of Splatoon, passing through the release from day one on PS Plus and the exclusivity agreement with PlayStation.

We still don’t know if it will be enough or not, but producer Kosuke Okatani is convinced that Foamstars will have a chance to survive – or rather, do well – in the current multiplayer landscape.

When did you decide to launch the game on day one on PlayStation Plus and what benefits do you expect it to bring to Foamstars in concrete terms?

We have worked closely with Sony Interactive Entertainment throughout the project, and while I cannot say when this decision was made, I can say that the decision to launch Foamstars as part of the PS+ catalog ensures access to the entire PlayStation Plus subscriber base, an opportunity we couldn’t miss.


From our perspective, this is a great way to thank the PlayStation community for their continued support, while giving the game a chance to shine. Growing a vibrant, active and engaged Foamstars community is critical to its success and we believe the PlayStation Plus approach is the best way to achieve this.

With 2024 shaping up to be a complicated year for multiplayer services and games, do you think Foamstars has what it takes to create a dedicated fanbase? What do you think makes it so unique that you can do this?

Certainly! We believe Foamstars offers a very different experience from current team-based shooters. Most titles in this genre are serious, realistic, or mature in design. We created Foamstars as an over-the-top shooter experience where foam is the dominant weapon. As far as we know, this is the only game that uses foam as ammunition!


Then, being a multiplayer title, we need to get the game into the hands of many players. That’s why we partnered with PlayStation to launch the game as part of PlayStation Plus monthly games.

We’ve also worked hard to make Foamstars a game that all players can follow as fans for a long time to come. For hardcore players, we’ve included ranked content, challenges, and other elements that will help them feel more connected to the characters. For casuals, we’ve included PvE modes and a tutorial to make getting into the game easier.

Finally, we plan to launch free seasonal updates approximately every five weeks. When designing the content and length of each season, we made sure to think about what will keep players engaged and entertained, so I hope everyone will enjoy what we have in store. We will have new maps, modes, characters, cosmetics… and I’m sure there will be more surprises along the way.


There are many aspects that differentiate Foamstars from other titles, but I’ll just summarize some of the main ones.

The Mechanics – Foam isn’t just for shooting competitors, we made sure it was an integral part of the gameplay experience. For example, the crossing and construction are supported by foam. Players can use their sliding boards when on foam to move around maps faster; however, this only works when they are on their team’s foam. Competitors’ foam slows them down. On the construction side, we made sure that the foam settled and could be used to create structures and shape the topography. This gives players numerous ways to be strategic during the game. For example, building walls to provide defensive cover or creating a foam mountain to gain a height advantage and eliminate opponents from above.

The graphics – I believe the graphics are unmatched in this genre. No other game world offers the experience of seeing a bright, flashy city engulfed in colorful foam.

I also think that the creative and engaging characters, designed in collaboration with the talented Gurihiru team, are an important aspect of what makes the game visually appealing. We’ve already seen tons of fan art on social media, even before the game’s release, and we’re obviously excited about it. This gives us a lot of motivation as a development team. Thanks to our community!

The atmosphere: Even though it’s a shooter, I think we’ve managed to create something that feels like a party, where it’s fun to play whether you win or lose. During last year’s open beta, we received a lot of positive feedback on features implemented to make the game more party-like, such as the ability to congratulate winners after their character loses a game.

During the conception and development phases, were you inspired by other games?

We’re lucky because our team has a wealth of experience, with fans and players of many different games and genres. This meant we had a rich pool of skills and interests to draw from to ensure our goal of creating a new gaming experience became a reality. Personally, I studied newer games in a similar genre or that cater to a similar market to understand what specific aspects stood out and tried to understand how they could be incorporated into Foamstars.

It’s not related to the game, but one thing that’s really inspired me is people’s love for foam parties. The main reason why our director came up with the basic idea for this game was that he was angry because every time he played hardcore games in his living room, his wife would get up and leave the room. He felt guilty about this and decided to create a game that would please and engage even people watching from the sidelines. While coming up with the final concept, it occurred to him to create a foam-based game, something that was engaging, fun and non-violent.


At that point he decided to go to a real foam party to check it out, and there he found young and old people, men, women and children, even an old lady in a wheelchair, hitting each other with their foam and were hit by foam, all with huge smiles on their faces. That’s when she had the epiphany: she was going to create a game where you shoot foam at yourself.

He observed that the foam visibly floats in the air, settling and accumulating wherever it lands. She decided to make it one of the main mechanics of the game. From then on, the development team would blow up bath bombs and bubbles in the office, so we could look at the foam and come up with what kind of fun things we could do with it. These ideas would later be incorporated into the game.

What are the differences between PS4 and PS5 in terms of graphics and performance?

The PS4 version is Full HD and 30 FPS, while the PS5 is 4K at 60 FPS. Cross-saving and cross-play are both supported. Additionally, the PS5 version supports the DualSense wireless controller’s adaptive trigger and haptic feedback functions, as well as gyroscopic aiming via the controller’s motion sensors.

When it comes to rumble support, we spent a lot of time making changes and studying different ways to convey the delicate feel of the foam, while reducing the strain on the player’s hands, which tends to dampen the whole experience in shooters.

What kind of support have you received from PlayStation as an exclusive game? Is there a possibility of a PC version?

While I can’t go into specifics, I can say that we are close partners of Sony Interactive Entertainment and have worked together during the development of Foamstars to ensure that it is a game that everyone will love to experience. As for a PC version, we are 100% focused on the success of Foamstars on PlayStation, to deliver the best experience to its incredible community.